Seasonal allergies can strike during any season, whether it’s from pollen in the spring, ragweed in the late summer or fall, or dust mites in the winter.
An allergy occurs when the immune system judges an otherwise harmless substance to be foreign and dangerous. The immune system responds by releasing antibodies to attack that substance, known as an allergen. This process leads to the release of histamines, which produce allergy symptoms, including headaches, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, coughing, and a runny or stuffy nose.
Allergies suggest an immune system that is incorrectly identifying an innocuous substance as a threat and then attacking it. Certain nutrient-dense foods can help boost the immune system and reduce the inflammation that causes allergy symptoms.
Here are 8 foods that can help fight the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
- Broccoli is high in Vitamin C, which can act as an antihistamine to reduce the release of the histamines that cause the allergy symptoms. The vitamin has been shown to decrease the inflammation that leads to allergy symptoms. Broccoli also is part of the crucifer family of vegetables, which are rich in nutrients that could help clear congested sinuses. (Cruciferous vegetables also have several cancer-fighting properties.)
- Kale also is part of the nutrient-rich crucifer family. Plus, it’s rich in plant pigments called carotenoids, namely beta carotene, a form of Vitamin A thought to improve allergy symptoms by decreasing inflammation and strengthening the immune system.
- Carrots, another vegetable loaded with beta-carotene, also may help ease the inflammation associated with allergy symptoms.
- Citrus fruits such as oranges, grapefruit, lemons and limes are high in the antihistamine-acting Vitamin C.
- Like kale and carrots, pumpkins are rich in carotenoids, including beta carotene, to help reduce inflammation and boost the immune system.
- Celery is full of Vitamin C and anti-inflammatory compounds such as the bioflavonoid luteolin, making the vegetable an asset in fighting both allergies and chronic pain.
Onions and Garlic
- Onions and garlic contain quercetin, a plant flavonoid that can reduce the body’s inflammatory response and act like an antihistamine to slow the body’s production of the histamines that cause the allergy symptoms.
- Parsley is a great source of Vitamin C and can help slow the release of histamines.
So before running to the medicine cabinet for allergy relief, consider the above nutrient-dense foods, all of which can help control allergy symptoms and provide a pathway to better overall health.
Written by Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com
Reviewed & edited by Dr Jeffrey Lederman
- Alternative Medicine, the Definitive Guide
- Organic Gardening